Message From the President, David A. Spain, MD
Happy New Year to all the AAST members
We remain optimistic that with COVID vaccinations and a new scientific approach to the pandemic that we will be able to offer an in-person component, along with a virtual option, to attend our annual meeting in Atlanta Sept 29 - Oct 02, 2021. Despite the deep desire to see all of our friends and colleagues face to face once again and share new knowledge, the safety of membership and staff is the ultimate priority. Therefore, we will continue to closely monitor the latest recommendations for safe travel and gatherings. We will make the final decision regarding the meeting (hybrid or full virtual again) with time for everyone to adjust their schedule.
Hopefully several of you applied for AAST Research Scholarship. Support like this early in your career can truly help set the tone for a successful career as a surgeon-scientist. Good luck to those who applied! We look forward to reading your applications and learning more about you and your career goals. In addition, we offer several Annual Meeting Scholarships, which are available for medical students, residents, and in-training fellows to encourage young investigators to become a part of the AAST community by networking with leading acute care surgeons. The scholarship portal will open in March.
After almost 30 years of active involvement in our association and the privilege of serving as your president for the last year and a half, it has become more and more apparent to me that effective mentorship and support are crucial. For me, it was mentors such as Drs. Ledgerwood, Richardson, Fallat, Britt, Meredith, Jurkovich, Peitzman, and Cioffi to name a few (of many), and a peer-support group that includes Drs. Brasel, Bulger, Burlew, Coimbra, Croce, K. Davis, Kozar, Livingston, Luchette, and Rotondo. In the spirit of paying it forward, Jill Spain and I have made a donation to the AAST to establish the Associate Member Mentorship Scholarship fund. This scholarship is intended to provide an exceptional early career acute care surgeon with the tools needed to further the mission of the AAST through engagement and leadership opportunities. The award will be open to any AAST Associate Member with special consideration given to a senior resident who has matched in critical care and/or trauma fellowship, current trauma/critical care fellows, and first-year faculty. Full details and the application process will be announced soon by the AAST office.
Finally, as we approach month 12 of the pandemic, I would like to thank and honor all of you who have been working so hard this past year. Not just those taking direct care of COVID patients (which is heroic by the way), but also everyone dealing with all the changes this has brought about - increases in intentional injuries, supporting colleagues and friends who have experienced loss, taking extra call to cover someone in quarantine, modifying educational plans to help our trainees, and dealing with isolation and the loss of human touch - and all the while, further exposing racial and social inequities in our healthcare system. Despite all of the chaos and uncertainty, I remain hopeful that 2021 holds brighter days ahead.
Stay safe my friends and hope that we can see each other in Atlanta!